The strawberry patch at Restoration Farm is damp with the remnants of an early morning rain. But, that doesn’t stop several of us from tugging up our cuffs and wading in to pick. When it comes to freshly picked strawberries, you can’t let a little moisture hold you back.
It is like a treasure hunt. Broad green leaves conceal most of the berries. You have to lift the protective netting and then forage a bit with your hands until you find the prize. Adults relish the satisfaction of plucking a perfect, glistening red strawberry and adding it to the basket. Children think it’s the best game ever.
But, be careful. The strawberry patch is teaming with life. One sharp-eyed forager spots a garden snake slithering through the underbrush with a small toad in its mouth. This news sends another friend scurrying from the patch. It’s all a far greater adventure than navigating the produce aisle to locate monstrous strawberries wrapped in clear plastic.
Each year, the crop of strawberries seems to develop its own set of flavors and characteristics. Some have been tart, and others dripping with juice. These taste sweet and clean, evoking a refreshing spring rain shower. They demand to be treated simply, celebrating that pure strawberry essence. I choose a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin -- where sliced strawberries are dressed with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with a dash of brown sugar – just enough embellishment to highlight the natural beauty of the strawberries.
©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved